How AI Route Optimization Enhances Transport Networks

Daffodil Software
5 min readJan 27, 2022


The average long-distance traveler cites congestion as the primary hindrance to their travel plan. With advancements in technology, the decision-making process that guides route planning has become much more streamlined. Artificial Intelligence (AI) backed route optimization systems give travelers the shortest and most congestion-free routes upon user request.

A Route Optimization System is a stand-alone system that lets a traveler reach their destination within their travel schedule. This system optimizes travel planning with the integration of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and AI. This integration links the map to a robust database which enables the search and retrieval of the shortest path.

In this article, we will understand how GIS and AI come together in Route Optimization Systems. We will go on to discuss how enhancements in these stand-alone systems help achieve their end goal.

What is a Global Information System?

A Global Information System (GIS) is a computation system that captures, stores, analyzes, and presents data based on geographically referenced information. The system also defines and utilizes the procedures, operating personnel, and spatial data that go into it.

While any other computer-generated mapping system represents roads as plain straight lines, GIS can differentiate between different terrains, as well as rural and urban areas. It emphasizes the spatial relationship between the objects along the route that are being mapped.

Integration of GIS with AI for Route Optimization

Ensuring efficient, feasible, and faster means of transport is necessary amidst the several transportation problems faced by commuters. Route optimization that integrates GIS with AI can allow people to access and retrieve spatial information along the shortest path to their destination.

Minimizing the distance, time, and cost of travel presents many uncertainties. These include traffic demand and capacity of links during peak and non-peak hours, weather conditions, unpredictable intersection delays, and a mixed traffic flow from various vehicles.

Most countries divide their inner-city roads into North, West, and Southwest zones. Route optimization systems integrating GIS and AI use the connectivity matrices of these three nodes to compute travel time and maintain the efficiency of arrival. The system will provide the traveler with real-time information using wireless communication, cloud computing, and spatial databases.

The AI in these systems uses simulation-based multi-objective genetic algorithms for the design of efficient transportation networks. Ad-hoc network clustering based on various other routing algorithms would help form a route optimization network running across thousands of kilometers.

Enhancements From Route Optimization Systems

The transportation and logistics industries can make use of AI-backed travel planning to integrate data from diverse sources and make informed decisions about travel routes. The unprecedented availability of computing power and Big Data analysis promises great returns for travel and transportation companies investing in AI.

The smartest minds in the transportation industry are leveraging the capabilities of AI for the following enhancements with route optimization systems:

1)Last Mile Efficiency

A significant overhead in the transportation of goods and people is the cost of last-mile travel. Route optimization can help rationalize this cost component. AI algorithms can make use of trip sheets and real-time statistics to pre-determine the travel time along a route.

Data-driven transportation network algorithms are continuously analyzing potential time reduction along routes. Tons of geographical, environmental, and traffic data are weighed against arrival time windows. In case of blockages in routes, the next best point of entry and a modified route can be calculated in real-time and shown on a live map.

Data-laden dashboards on the onboard navigation system of the vehicles alert drivers on the most optimal delivery route. Transport agencies can turn data around factors like the number of people moved and the average vehicle speed into key performance indicators. This information is then reused to benchmark and improve end-to-end service planning.

2)Multi-Modal Optimization

The reliance on omnichannel movement is usually a business imperative for any travel corporation to have a thriving enterprise. Diversifying into a multi-modal network including multiple transportation modes can be daunting but not impossible, thanks to AI multi-objective adaptive algorithms.

Big Data around open spatial information taking into account several environmental factors at a time helps coordinate between multiple transport channels and vehicular modes. AI-driven analytical tools help transport planners in simplifying multiple travel networks at once while managing inventory.

The foundation of the multi-modal network can be laid by governments with the proper use of the vast databases of GIS information that they possess. They can help design and develop efficient systems for urban and rural traffic management and road administration. With this method, they can enable seamless movement of multiple modes of public transport as well.

3)Cost Reduction

With the use of AI insights, transport companies can consolidate transit routes, vehicles, and personnel to control costs as and when needed. Just like in logistics, capacity utilization algorithms can be applied to GIS data to reduce costs on vehicles running without passengers.

Using the concepts of Less-Than-Truckload (LTT) shipments, transport corporations can minimize expenditure on less profitable channels and transport modes. Just like LTT minimizes stop truckloads, a combination of GIS and AI can help in vehicle allocation which is not wasteful in terms of fuel and capacity.

AI can also help transport companies by integrating simulations that implement cost optimization strategies. Damage claims across transport routes can also be minimized. By enhancing damage mitigation approaches, it can support rate negotiations for high-risk routes.

4)Streamlining Transport Resources

Machine learning systems provide long-term value by predicting resource allocation constraints in the transport ecosystem. They enable planners to take pre-emptive measures to minimize overloading certain channels. The machine learning algorithms implemented for this purpose use the load pooling technique for rationalizing operations.

Air, land, and waterways transport planning can maximize resource utilization with these systems. Resources like manpower, luggage handling equipment, vehicles, and space are all accounted for. AI resource allocation engines optimize daily schedules and transport-related maintenance activities.

As autonomous vehicles grow in number and popularity over the next few years, self-learning systems and AI frameworks will be an integral part of resource allocation.

ALSO READ: How IoT can Improve Transportation and Logistics Industry

Adopt AI Route Optimization to Improve Your Transportation System

Route optimization, a core component of transportation planning, can be further improved upon with the application of AI. Add to that the limitless capabilities of GIS’ integration with AI and you can improve transport channel performance, reduce costs, and delight customers.

AI route optimization systems can learn about traffic patterns, predict hurdles like weather conditions and take them into account while rerouting. Learn how you can utilize transit planning applications and rerouting software for your transport business with Daffodil’s Travel and Transportation Solutions .

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